Toyota have brought their compact sports car project to Geneva in an updated version – the Toyota FT-86 II, which may hit the road by 2012.
Toyota has been threatening to produce an affordable sports car for quite a while. And when we first saw the Toyota FT-86 Concept at the end of 2009 (and in the flesh at Goodwood last summer) we’d expected to see it launch this year.
Despite that expectation, we discovered in January that Toyota were actually taking a different concept to Geneva – the Toyota FT-86 II – dashing any hopes of the FT-86 in any shape or form hitting the road this year. Maybe 2012.
Mentally strip away some of the concept car gubbins on the Toyota, and you have a car that seems to have progressed from the original FT-86 by getting a bit bigger; bonnet line and roof line seem to have changed.
Beyond some subtle changes in shape – which probably has more to do with the FT-86 II being more production-ready than its predecessor – we don’t learn a lot more.
The interior is a mystery – the windows are unremittingly dark and the doors aren’t opened – and we’re assuming that the FT-86 II is still destined to get the Subaru-sourced 2.0 litre Boxster lump the original was.
Despite the vagaries, and the lack of anything really solid from Toyota, it does look as if the FT-86 II will head in to production sooner rather than later, and inject a bit of fun back in to an increasingly corporate range of cars from Toyota.
But will the FT-86 II be able to live up to the original ethos of the project and bring a compact rear-wheel-drive sports car to market at a sensible price? That rather depends on your interpretation of a sensible price.
Toyota had talked in terms of a sports car at around £17.5k when they revealed ‘hachi roku’ (Japanese for 86) in 2009. But that’s probably a pipe dream now with the strength of the Yen. The FT-86 will undoubtedly cost north of £20k, and almost certainly heading towards £25k.
Still worth looking forward to, though.